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Health

Toronto has excellent hospitals and doctors -- though hopefully you won't have any occasion to need these services. Bring any prescriptions you might require with you. Decongestants, cough and cold remedies, and allergy medications are available without prescription in pharmacies. Two major chains dominate. Pharma Plus has many locations around town, including at one at 63 Wellesley St., at Church Street (tel. 416/924-7760), that's open daily from 8am to midnight. Other Pharma Plus branches are in College Park, Manulife Centre, Commerce Court, and First Canadian Place. Shopper's Drug Mart is also everywhere. The only 24-hour drugstore near downtown is the Shopper's Drug Mart at 700 Bay St., at Gerrard Street West (tel. 416/979-2424).

Safety

Toronto enjoys an unusually safe reputation as far as big cities go, although a steady supply of guns coming across the border from the U.S. is damaging the now worn-out reputation of "Toronto the Good." But keep in mind that it is a big city, with all of the difficulties that implies. While lovely parks such as Allan Gardens and Trinity Bellwoods have been cleaned up in recent years, it's best to avoid all big parks after dark unless you're attending a special event such as a theatre performance. During the day, keep your valuables close and your eyes peeled for pickpockets. This is important to keep in mind when you're at a major tourist attraction, on a crowded shopping strip such as Yonge Dundas Square, and on the subway or streetcar.

More about safety on Toronto's public transit system: If it's late and you're alone on an almost-empty platform, wait for the train by the big "DWA" sign (it stands for "Designated Waiting Area," and it has an intercom and a closed-circuit TV camera trained on it). There is a DWA area at every TTC station. If there is an incident on a subway car, press the alarm -- the yellow strip is very visible -- and note that it is silent. If you are traveling by bus, there is a "Request Stop" program in effect between 9pm and 5am, in which female passengers traveling alone can disembark at streets in between regular TTC bus stops. For information about these safety features, visit http://www3.ttc.ca/Riding_the_TTC/Safety_and_Security/index.jsp.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.